Mary Russell

Mary Russell
Rider Profile
HometownNaperville, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorEngilsh & Political Science
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I am currently a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in English and Political Science. At the onset of our bike ride I will have graduated, and I can’t imagine a better way to spend my first summer as an official adult. I enjoy singing, and I’ve gotten my fix as a member of the Women’s Glee Club on campus, and belting Beyoncé with my girls. I hope this trip will change me for the better, as well as change those I ride with and encounter each day. I once heard a joke that there are 10 kinds of people – those who understand binary, and those who don’t. (binary code is made up of ones and zeros...) Although my understanding of computer code is essentially nonexistent, I don’t like to think of myself as being placed into one of two categories, nor do I think we should view situations in this manner. This summer, I will choose to look for what is between the binary. I am so excited to see what lies between America’s two coasts, and meet all types of people along the way.

Personal Statement

This summer I will ride for my Uncle Bob, whom I have never met, but about whom I have heard many hilarious stories. I imagine he had my mother’s laugh. I will also ride for my Aunt Eileen, who passed away in 2006 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. I will remember her adventurous spirit and natural athleticism during the ride when I need motivation to keep going. But I will also ride for future survivors, and those still struggling. Cancer affects everyone, and it will surely affect my life in a personal way again. I hope that our efforts during this trip will help to increase the number of cancer survivors I meet in the future. I want to say thank you to my friends and family for all of their support, and everyone who has donated to the cause!